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Jackson Family Wines Pilot Reduces Water Use 70%

kj wineThe maker of Kendall-Jackson wines has completed a year-long pilot into water-saving technologies that it believes could help the California wine industry save a billion gallons of water a year, if just 35 percent of California wineries took up the processes.

Jackson Family Wines, Santa Rosa, Calif., has been testing the concept of filtering rinse water that is recycled from a number of winery uses, according to a press release.

At its Sonoma County, Calif., winery alone, the company expects the system to result in annual reductions of 6 million gallons of water, 133,000 kWh of electricity, and 73,000 therms of natural gas.

Napa-based civil engineering firm Riechers Spence and Associates, and winery wastewater specialists Heritage Systems, along with the University of California at Davis, participated in the pilot.

The water filtering process, which will be applied to water used for rinsing wine barrels and tanks along with other uses, has multiple benefits. Taken together, the processes represent about 70 percent of a winery’s water use.

The process, which returns 90 percent of water and allows reuse of rinse water up to ten times, also has some energy-saving benefits. Because the recycled water retains 75 percent of its heat, the process reduces energy use and cost in the acquisition, heating, transfer, cleaning and dispersal of water.

In addition to water and energy savings, wine material removed during the filtering process can be co-composted with other organic materials, used as a natural fertilizer, or put toward energy creation in a bio-digester system.

In July, the winery said it hoped to save $100,000 a year in electricity costs after a lighting retrofit at its 11.5 acre Kittyhawk location, a central production and storage facility.

Numerous other California wineries have taken steps to become more sustainable.

For instance, already using a 766 kW solar system, Rodney Strong Vineyards has gone the extra step of becoming carbon neutral via purchase of offsets.

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